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Linking Scales of Regulation to Scales of Environmental Change Processes


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Title: Linking Scales of Regulation to Scales of Environmental Change Processes

Linking Scales of Regulation to Scales of
Environmental Change Processes
  • By
  • Tim McDaniels and Hadi Dowlatabadi

  • Thanks to the CISHDGC, supported by the NSF
  • Thanks to the Centers of Excellence in
    Aquaculture Research supported by the Canadian
  • Thanks to Sara Stevens, Holly Longstaff, Patricia
    Keen, Daniel Galland and Kira Gerwing

Basic Message
  • There are scales within regulatory structures for
    global change issues, as well as scales in many
    other dimensions (e.g., space, time, trophic
    levels, etc)
  • Effective regulation requires matching scales of
    regulation to the nature and scales of
    institutional decisions required for that issue
  • Mismatches and gaps in scales of regulation can
    be an underlying of source of conflict or
    regulatory failure

  • Multiple Scales in Regulatory Contexts
  • Aquaculture as a global change process
  • Salmon Aquaculture in British Columbia multiple
    scales and gaps
  • Implications for linking regulation to scales

Multiple Scales In Global Change
  • Many writers have stressed the importance of
    scale in understanding global change issues
  • Concerns for scales range from biological to
    human systems, from patterns of leaves to
    patterns of landscapes, and from local to global
  • Example Rotmans and Rothman (eds.) 2003

Cash and Moser, 2000 typology of regulatory
problems across scales
  • Problems of Institutional fit
  • Mismatch in scale at which institutions enact
    regulation and the scale of environmental problem
  • Problems of Scale Discordance
  • Mismatch between scale of assessment and scale at
    which information is needed for regulation
  • Problems of Cross-Scale dynamics
  • Regulation proceeds at one scale but problem
    operates across many scales

Gaps, but no regulatory framework?
  • There seems to be little writing on the nature of
    or ideals for regulatory structures in problems
    with multiple scales
  • Some related concepts (federalism, instrument
    choice) but these do not directly address notions
    of regulatory tasks in problems with multiple

Thoughts on a definition
  • A cross-scale regulatory problem arises when the
    impacts of an activity extend beyond the
    boundaries of initial institutional control for
    the activity
  • Hence any externality as defined by economists is
    a cross-scale problem. The impacts of a
    transaction extend beyond the parties to the
    transaction (the market as the institution)

Simple example
  • Emissions from one power plant have regional
    impacts and so require regulation beyond the
    local or plant level
  • Emissions from all the power plants in a region
    have impacts on national and international air
    quality and so require even broader levels of

Scale Problems Everywhere
  • With this definition, scale problems arise in all
    kinds of situations (levels and kinds of urban
    development, siting facilities, fisheries,
    technology standards, reliability, global change,
    air, water etc)
  • What is the nature of regulation across scales
    for these contexts?

Flows Across Scale Levels
  • From broader to narrower (e.g., regional to
  • Constraints on activities (bounds of operation)
    to address the broader level implications of
    local activities
  • From narrower to broader (e.g., local to
  • The acceptability and desirability of the bounds
    of operation, as seen from the narrower level

Information needed across scales
  • Flows in both directions (up and down)
  • Values of the interested parties (what is
    important, their views on tradeoffs)
  • Alternatives and their impacts
  • Wise, justifiable choices more acceptable
  • A sense of trust in the process, belief in
    fairness, needed for acceptance when constraints
  • Hence effective regulation across scales requires
    understanding of values, technical information
    and good decision process

Figure 1. Flows of Constraints, Feedback and
Information in Regulatory Structures for Issues
with Multiple Scales
Broader Scale
Broader Values and Alternatives
Constraints on Activities to Operate within
Broader Scale Limits and Goals
Acceptability of Constraints on Activities to
Meet Broader Scale Limits and Goals
Narrower Values and Alternatives
Narrower Scale
Possible Implications
  • When some elements are missing, at one or more
    scales, cross-scale problems can arise in
  • The wider the range of scales, the greater
    potential for gaps or mismatches
  • Diagnose gaps and mismatches with an eye to
    prescriptions for improvement

Aquaculture as global change
  • Earths land surface was transformed by emergence
    of agriculture
  • Remote coastlines following this same pattern,
    only faster
  • Decline of wild fisheries
  • Growth in aquaculture based on property rights

Aquaculture as global change
  • Doubling in volume and value from 1987-97
  • (Nature, 2000, Naylor et al)
  • Diverse kinds and effects of aquaculture
  • Herbivores versus carnivores
  • shellfish versus finfish
  • Substantial ecological implications
  • Farming up the food chain
  • Disease spread, introduced species
  • Substantial habitat loss
  • Major social, cultural, economic implications

Salmon Aquaculture
  • Salmon aquaculture phenomenal growth in Norway,
    Scotland, BC, Chile, NZ
  • Dominated by five multinational corporations
    (capital, knowledge, markets, technology)
  • Impacts focused on remote coastlines, small
    (Native) communities
  • Major controversies over environmental (fish
    disease, escapes, effects on shellfish) and
    social impacts (effects on neighbors,
    communities), food and economic benefits

Salmon Aquaculture in BC
  • Remarkable growth since 1985 (large areas of
    seascape on Canadas west coast are altered)
  • Substantial environmental, social and economic
  • Multiple scales are apparent, and a good way to
    examine complexity in the industry

B.C. Salmonid Aquaculture Production (1984-2001)
Source FAO Statistical Database
Typical BC Fish Farm Site (1)
Typical BC Fish Farm Site (2)
Policy Decisions At Each Scale
  • International scale
  • What role should salmon aquaculture play in
    worldwide food production?
  • National scale
  • What role should salmon aquaculture play in
  • Regional Scale
  • What is the best scale and type of salmon
  • Local Scale
  • Where should salmon farms be sited?

Policies in place
  • International fits within trade, food agreements
  • National highly encouraged, if sustainable
  • Provincial highly encouraged
  • Local ranges from despised to tolerated

BC Regulatory Mismatches
  • Site-by-site regulation is focus through
    permitting (federal and provincial agencies)
  • Cumulative (regional) impacts are profound
  • Potential for disease spread (sea lice) to wild
    stocks, escapes (colonizing) all regional
  • Siting and permits supposed to address cumulative
    impacts, but have no basis or method
  • Enormous frustration, direct action against
    siting farms, particularly in Native communities

Local to regional conflicts
  • Province, Feds regulate the environmental aspects
    of aquaculture
  • Local government has control of land use
  • In last two years, three farms with all
    provincial and federal permits in place, turned
    down at the local level due to concerns over
    environmental impacts
  • Cause of great dismay among fish farm investors
    and regulators in senior governments

  • lack of real attention to cumulative impacts
    leads to a major regulatory gap
  • An underlying source of controversy and
    frustration because key issues are unaddressed
  • Local governments try to take up cumulative
    impacts although beyond their expertise
  • Problems of institutional fit, scale discordance,
    cross-scale dynamics all evident

4.) Implications
  • Regulatory gaps at multiple scales are a subtle
    yet important source of failure to address global
  • Concepts of the nature of and ideals for
    regulation across scales is a start to understand
    these gaps
  • The gaps may be greatest at the global level
  • nations advocate strongly for their economic and
    sovereignty interests, with few looking out for
    global well-being

Adding to the typology of regulatory gaps
  • A competence gap
  • the higher level is not able to understand or
    make use of lower level values, its own values,
    the alternatives and the impacts in setting
    constraints on lower level operations (e.g., lack
    of attention to cumulative impacts)
  • A legitimacy gap
  • the higher level is not seen as legitimate or
    fair in setting lower level constraints on
    operations (e.g., Native protests, local refusals)

The distance across the scales
  • A suggestion
  • A wider distance between the scale at which
    driving forces lead to change, and the scale at
    which impacts are manifest, leads to greater
    potential for regulatory gaps

Worldwide Salmonid Aquaculture Production
Source FAO Statistical Database
Worldwide Salmonid Capture (1950-2001)
Source FAO Statistical Database
Table 2. Summary of Government Regulatory
Responsibilities for Salmon Aquaculture in B.C.
Our various papers/theses
  • Multiple scales and regulatory mismatches (Sara
  • Linking objectives and performance measures
    (Holly Longstaff)
  • Risk ranking among experts (Patricia)
  • Evolution of siting criteria (Daniel Galland)
  • First Nations values and indicators (Kira
  • Risk Communication experiment about GM fish food
    for salmon aquaculture (Holly again)

Additional Purpose
  • Report to and thank NSF for our support through
    the CISHDGC at CMU
  • Results from one of several products from one of
    four projects from last year
  • Leveraged support of 80K (Cdn) from Canada
    Centers of Excellence in Aquaculture (SSHRC and

  • Use our research as a basis for exploring
    implications of regulatory approaches
  • Examine concepts regarding regulatory gaps and
    mismatches across scales
  • Illustrate with examples from salmon aquaculture

Typical BC Fish Farm Site (1)
Canadas Salmonid Capture (1950-2001)
Source FAO Statistical Database
Insights from our related projects
  • Using value-focused thinking to clarify how
    objectives and measures change as scales of
    decisions increases
  • Actors and regulatory structures at every major
    decision scale
  • Means-ends networks to show how various ends are
    related to policy choices

The End
  • Paper in draft